Are Scams and Fraud the Same? The Definition of Fraud in Arizona

credit card sitting on a laptop - fraud in Arizona

Are Scams and Fraud the Same? The Definition of Fraud in Arizona

Whether you call it a scam or a con, fraud is one of the many types of white collar crimes. And scams, cons, or fraud can all have serious consequences. 

Fraud is intentionally using deception to exploit others for your own personal gain. Essentially, fraud is lying to another person in order to get money, property, goods, services, or even a rise in status from them. However, Arizona only considers fraud a criminal act if the amount is $1,000 or more. 

Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of fraud and the consequences of committing fraud in Arizona.

Common Types of Fraud 

Arizona law defines fraud as intentionally deceiving someone for your own personal gain. Fraud can be committed by making false statements, falsely representing facts, or withholding important information. 

Due to the broad nature of its definition, there are many types of fraud. In fact, many white collar crimes straddle the line between fraud and other crimes, and could come with additional charges. Here are some examples of the most common types of criminal scams in Arizona.  

1. Imposter Scams

This type of fraud happens when the scammer contacts another person pretending to be someone in authority. They might claim to be a law enforcement officer, landlord, or bank manager, then ask for money using a story in a text message, email, phone call, or letter. 

2. Debt Collection Scams

These types of scams are often mail or phone scams that use a fake debt collection company to coerce payments from others. 

3. Identity Theft

Straddling the line between theft and fraud, identity theft is a bit of both. Most of the time, stolen identities are used for fraudulent purposes, such as applying for a credit card in someone else’s name.

4. Credit Card Fraud

Using a credit card that is not yours is also a form of fraud. It can be used in person, online, or copied. Credit card fraud can be charged along with additional charges of theft. 

5. Business and Commercial Fraud

This type of fraud is a large category—it encompasses all sorts of deceptive business practices, such as false advertising, Ponzi and pyramid schemes

6. Benefit Fraud

Taking advantage of government benefits, like SNAP (food stamps), when you do not qualify for them is considered criminal fraud, even for amounts under $1,000. 

The Consequences of Fraud in Arizona

To be convicted of fraud in the state of Arizona, it needs to be proved that false representations, promises, or omissions were made with the intention of tricking another person into parting with something of value. 

Depending on the type of fraud and how much was stolen, penalties range from a slap on the wrist to 3 or more years in prison. Most fraud cases in Arizona are class 2 felonies. This class of felony carries penalties of 3 to 35 years in prison, with the possibility of probation or parole, as well as fees, fines, and reparations

Defense Lawyer for Fraud Charges

If that sounds overwhelming, that’s because it is. But understanding the consequences of fraud in Arizona is an important part of building your defense. Since fraud is such a broad category, having a certified criminal defense attorney on your side can make all the difference in proving your innocence. 

Todd Coolidge has over 25 years of experience in the Arizona justice system, and he knows how to navigate the courts. Every case that comes through our offices is reviewed thoroughly and carefully. If you have been charged with fraud in Arizona, contact us today to schedule a consultation.



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